Here I am, hanging with Mr Punch in Covent Garden.
Alright, that’s Shaun Williamson (aka Barry off Eastenders) who played our host, traditionally called ‘the bottler’, at a special Punch and Judy show held yesterday by UK comedy channel Gold.
It’s the 350th anniversary of the seaside puppet icons and Gold wanted to mark the occasion by promoting a revamped version of Punch and Judy, penned by the guys who wrote Birds of a Feather and My Family (John Phelps and Gary Lawson).
I was invited along by Gold as ‘VIP blogger’ to cover the event staged in Covent Garden market, outside Punch & Judy pub.
Adults and kids sat on deck chairs and bean bags munching popcorn and cheering and booing characters panto stylee.
Punch was a proper chav in red tracksuit and gold P chain, with Judy a bit of a Wag although not as dolled up as the Madonna ‘inspired’ puppet (who pronounces her name in ‘fluent dolphin’).
Also on the scene were Prince Super Harry, a very lifelike Boris Johnson as the bumbling policeman and Simon Cowell as the judge that wants Punch banged up for having no talent.
Punch and Judy Rebooted is aimed at tickling a new generation that might be put off by the wife-beating antics of latter-day Mr. Punch. The new version is still good old-fashioned fun, laced with some adult jokes that sailed smoothly over the kids’ heads.
Shaun Williamson was as comfortable and endearing as the bottler as in his role on Extras and very friendly afterwards. It was nice to see Punch Professor Jake Arnott emerge from behind the scenes to take his bow.
Ezra enjoyed the show and was excited to have his name for Punch and Judy’s baby (Cutie Pie) tweeted out to the masses. Jed wasn’t so keen – I think he was afraid of the puppet Loan Shark!
Punch and Judy Rebooted will tour UK beaches at Great Yarmouth (Aug 23) and Scarborough (Aug 24). Catch up with the show on Gold’s website and visit Gold’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/goldtvchannel to follow the journey.